So, say you've been watching too much of The Last Kingdom and playing too much King of Dragon Pass, and you want to fiddle with making a more Dark Ages campaign world.
Are there rules and/or stats for unarmored infantry or mounted infantry available? How does the lack of heavy archers (Longbowmen & Crossbowmen) and real cavalry affect mercenary availability? Is it worth making this change, or should I just give the fyrd leather armor, let the thegns fight from horseback, and be done with it?
Should the realms be civilized, borderlands, or wilderness? I haven't been able to find much population info for the period. There were some urban settlements, but they seem to have been small and unimportant prior to Alfred the Great building the burhs. I could make a couple of the remaining towns Class IV markets that civilize the area. Or, I could have only wildereness domains, make the fyrd tribal warriors, and give the PCs the opportunity re-civilize the area.
Anyway, really just thinking out loud here.
These are all great questions! Here are some thoughts:
1. For a Dark Ages campaign, you might set the armor up as follows:
- Helmet Only 1
- Hide 1
- Leather 2, or Hide + Helmet
- Ring 3, or Leather + Helmet
- Chain Byrnie 4, or Ring + Helmet
- Chain Byrnie + Helmet 5
- Chain Hauberk + Helmet 6
2. For mounted infantry, allow them to move on the strategic map as cavalry.
3. The Welsh would have had access to Longbowmen and the Normans to crossbowmen. I would reduce the number of mercenaries of these types available to the Anglo-Saxons to be only what's available in urban settlements. That is, you can recruit small numbers in towns, but you can't recruit large numbers from countryside.
4. I would make the fyrd a peasant levy that has been trained as light infantry.
5. I would keep the historical town sizes. Most settlements will be tiny. I'd put the areas that normally would be civilized around a large town as borderlands, and leave the rest of the map as wilderlands.
I'd run Viking and Pict/Scotts as Tribal Warriors though.
You mean Anglo-SACKSon, right?
Dragon issues 257 and 263 have Dark Ages England and gods and goddesses. No pop figures, does have kingdoms, rough borders, and major urban areas.
this will be interesting to follow... I like the idea of a Mythic Britain Based on the Cornwell series which could streth to include the age of the heptarchy and coming of the northman.
Anybody looking to fo Anglo-SACKSon stuff should take a look at https://darkagebritannia.weebly.com/ for a great 6 mile hex map of England!
I'm kind of hoping to do a PCs as Norse invaders trying to take over kingdoms type of campaign in this vein. I think the region is great size-wise and population-wise for this kind of stuff - well defined, not too big, not too small, with the PCs potentially able to have a big impact. A sort of Britain as mega-dungeon. :D